Saturday Bag o’ Sleep

7a339c13421ddf246d522a680c8d602aThis morning I looked back on some early blog posts. One of my first was about sleep apnea. I don’t know if any of you are starting to have trouble staying awake and wondering whether you have sleep apnea, but if the shoe fits, here’s my advice: get a sleep study referral from your doctor, and if it turns out you do have it, get a CPAP machine and use it faithfully every night.

I’m pretty sure I’ve had sleep apnea all my life. From the first days of our marriage, when we were just 19, Donna worried about my snoring at night. When I flew fighters in my 30s and 40s, squadron mates who had to share quarters with me on air defense alert complained of it as well. But here’s the thing: it never bothered me during the day, so I didn’t worry about it. Turns out that’s because I was young and had the stamina to get through the day on very little sleep.

That changed when when I hit my 50s. I started nodding off during the day. At the wheel, at my desk, during meetings … anywhere and any time. My boss thought I had narcolepsy and told me to seek treatment. Once I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, I was able to get a CPAP machine (most insurance plans cover CPAP machines and supplies, and so does Medicare when you get older).

Tell you what, that CPAP cured what ailed me. I know people have a hard time getting used to wearing a nose mask at night, but you’ll get eight hours of honest sleep, and if you were as bad off as I was, it’ll change your life. I’ve been using one since 2003. I still marvel at how great it feels to wake up in the morning fully rested and refreshed … probably because until I was in my 50s and started using a CPAP at night, I’d never known the feeling.

Long as we’re at it, here are a couple of other senior living how-tos. Donna decided, way back in the early 1990s, that from then on any house we bought would be single story. At that point I’d been running daily for several years. My knees were still good, but Donna must have known something because they’re shit now, and I’d be hating it if I had to climb or descend stairs several times a day. One more thing … you may get to a point in life where you’ll want to replace the toilets in your house with ones that are a little taller (“comfort height” is the industry euphemism) and have elongated bowls. One reason, as with stairs, is knees. The other is butts that have grown larger with age.

Maybe your knees are still good and you can fit in the same pants you wore when you were in your 20s. If so, know that I hate you.

Years ago it hit me that libertarians won’t be happy until people can once again smoke wherever they want, and that realization put everything in perspective for me. Now, it’s becoming increasingly clear that what right-wingers & MAGAts want, when you strip everything else away, is society’s blessing to openly use racial and ethnic slurs. Not that they ever quit using them in private.

I recently shared some thoughts with a friend about volunteering at Pima Air and Space Museum. I still love what I do there, but I’m increasingly put off by an “us versus them” vibe between management and volunteers. It’s probably always been there, but it seems noticeably stronger now than before.

We recently discovered the museum is advertising for a boneyard tour guide. Boneyard tours are currently conducted by a team of volunteer docents who each come in one day a week, much the same way it works with the team I’m a member of, the docents who drive and narrate tram tours on the museum grounds. Boneyard tour docents will be sent packing if the museum hires a full-timer to do it instead.

They’re not advertising, but I suspect museum staff must also be considering replacing my team of volunteers with one or two paid workers. We used to worry the museum would make a recording of the tram tour narration and ask us to merely drive as the tape plays, adjusting our speed so that the tape matches the planes we’re driving past. Museum staff must know we’d all quit if that came to pass … I certainly would … so paying one or two workers to do it instead might be an attractive option for them, so long as they didn’t have to pay too much.

Honestly, the message we volunteers get, louder and clearer by the day, is that the museum doesn’t like depending on volunteers and would rather not have to deal with us. I’ve never heard of any large museum getting along without volunteers, though, and that gives me some comfort. Still, there’s negativity in the air, and most of us agree we’re not having as much fun as we used to.

4 thoughts on “Saturday Bag o’ Sleep

  • Great post. When we bought this place in 2008 we were definitely not interested in stairs. This goes back to Donna having a broken leg and ankle at the same time and navigating the stair in Corte Madera with crutches, we learned our lesson.

    We have the same problem with management vs. volunteers at the shelter but with the addition of animals being put down. The powers that be were shall we say annoyed when I posted a piece calling it murder. Oh well. Always a problem with volunteers.

  • Actually, I took the stairs into consideration when we bought this house and decided they’d be good exercise. I’ll tell you, if some people (who shall not be named) didn’t have to go downstairs to the kitchen, he wouldn’t get any exercise at all.

  • I was fortunate enough to adapt to my CPAP mask at the first try. During the titration study, the monitor told me (during the debrief) if it weren’t for my vital signs on the screen in front of him he’d have thought I was dead! I didn’t move a muscle for a solid 6 hours once he got my correct pressure determined.
    That was 10 years ago, I think I’ve been without it 4 times since then (twice to component failure, and twice more when “someone” packed my machine and didn’t get all the requisite parts in the bag.

    Our next home will have all our living space on the main floor. Guest rooms upstairs perhaps and possibly a walk-out basement but there will be dumbwaiters and the stairs will be wide enough for a lift chair. The master bath will have his and hers commodes (I’m taller than she) and be large enough for a stackable washer / dryer in a ‘closet’ included in the floor plan. (I figure 95% of the laundry will be generated in the master bedroom and bath, the bathroom will already have humidity control installed and if I build it right, the duct from the dryer to outside should be less than a foot long.)

    I’ve assembled a notebook filled with notes on everything that ever pissed me off about the design of every house we’ve ever lived in, and I’ll engineer all of them out of our next (and hopefully last) home!

    Volunteers v. paid employees? Sounds like management wanting control. It’s hard to threaten a fella who is volunteering. What are they going to do, not pay you? Like all things, it comes down to someone wanting to exercise more control. I’m sure the people at the top have political aspirations.

  • Sleep Apnea? I snored like thunder all through my time in the Army, drove my friends nuts with the noise on a fishing trip to the Outer Banks.
    I was lucky. My wife was a Respiratory Therapist at Duke Medical Center and convinced me to see her favorite pulmonologist there and he started me on CPAP in 1991.

    The first day after I slept with it on all night I went through the day thinking “This must be how people on cocaine feel. I couldn’t believe how I’d gone decades without it.

    It turns out it is a family trait… My Dad and Mom snored bigly, and eventually my older and younger brother were on them as well as my older brothers son.

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